Nigerias Unity Bank Plc. has confirmed that it engaged with the New York-based private equity firm, Milost Global Inc., and some prospective "value-plus investors" on the need to shore up its capital base.
The tier-2 financial institution, however, said the Bank did not at any time suggest or agree to move its listing from the NSE to the USA as falsely claimed and the purported investment of $1,000,000,000.00 by Milost Global Inc.
The Bank also claimed that there was no agreement whatsoever with Milost Global alluding to the acquisition of 60 percent Unity Bank shareholding.
Mohammed Shehu, Secretary, Unity Bank Plc., in a statement released on Thursday, March 29, 2018, said: “All through these engagements, the Bank has been properly guided by the extant regulations concerning capital raising and equally made the process open to all prospective investors”.
The statement reads in part Milost Global Inc., one of the prospective investors introduced to the Bank by a local entity called Mayo BV. It is not unusual that this introduction and expression of interests would involve some level of preliminary discussions and exchange of nonbinding documentary communications between the intending parties towards establishing a mutual foundation on which the transaction contemplated will be initiated.
“It is in relation to the preliminary discussions that courtesy visits were exchanged between representatives of Milost and the Bank in 2017 and early 2018. The Bank's Managing Director/CEO was in New York in October 2017 for other engagements and decided to visit Milost and verify the firm's address as well as put a face to the officers of Milost that have been engaging the Bank via telephone and emails. A brief meeting was held and discussions were around the dynamics of Milost proposal to Unity Bank Plc, and socialization of the policies and regulations around equity investment in Nigeria. The Bank did not at any time suggest or agree to move its listing from the NSE to the USA as falsely reported in the media.
“Furthermore, considering that Milost and the Bank were only still engaged in preliminary discussions, which must necessarily be subjected to relevant regulatory, statutory and corporate governance compliance parameters before such discussions could become elevated to the level of a "binding commitment agreement" properly so called, the issue of "Termination" of the "Transaction" does not arise.”
Confirmation of Investment Deals
Unity Bank in the statement released confirmed having had series of meetings with Milost Global Inc., but said they are still at preliminary stages. The investment deal, Kim Freeman, CEO of Milost Global also pointed out the series of meetings in his last press statement.
Freeman explaining further that the equity firm conducted a satisfactory checks on Unity Bank and offered a $1billion financing term sheet but Unity Bank deny having knowledge of such finance.
Milost Global had also claimed that: "On September 4, 2017, a $1billion financing term sheet was fully executed by both Milost and Unity Bank."
But Unity Bank said: “The "Term Sheet" dated September 4, 2017 said to have been executed was a "proposal" submitted by Milost Global Inc. "for discussion purposes only and NOT a commitment" by the parties. No definitive documentation governing the proposed financing was executed.”
Unity Bank Plc said it is fully aware of all regulatory steps and requirements on such investment proposition and the imperative to comply with them and will continue to engage all stakeholders on achievements made in this regard.
Two days ago, Milost Global Inc had issued a statement terminating its investment talks with Unity Bank Plc over threat messages by a strong politician who is aware of the deal and knowledge of the investment talks.